Many people understand that housing, like anything else, is a question of supply and demand. But there are some holdouts who think that it’s simply not possible for supply to catch up to demand.
I think some of this stems from how much they may like a place – Bend in this case. “It’s the best place in the world! It’s perfect!” – so why would anyone want to live anywhere else? And thus an unlimited supply of people wanting to live here.
There are a couple of problems with that line of reasoning:
First of all, Bend’s great, but not everyone likes the snow, or the smoke in the summer we sometimes get from fires. Or the chilly spring and relatively cool nights all year long that make growing things difficult. And others would prefer a larger, less remote city with more amenities. Perhaps other people feel Bend is already too big. Some people love the ocean and want to live near it. Others want to be where there is more action in terms of high paying jobs. Being near a major research university is a draw for some. I’ve even talked with athletes who take into consideration Bend’s relative flatness, as compared to a place like Boulder, Colorado, which has steep mountains right out of town: Flagstaff road for cycling or Mt Sanitas for hiking or running.
In other words, Bend’s certainly not perfect – as much as we may love it, it’s not for everyone.
Secondly, as further proof of this point, if you talk with people from other popular places who are convinced that it’s impossible for supply to catch up to demand, it seems that they’re all convinced that there is an unlimited number of people who want to move to their town, whether it’s
- San Francisco
- Boulder, Colorado
- Asheville, North Carolina
- Santa Barbara
It would seem that it cannot literally be true that everyone wants to live in all those places, and that, indeed, people do have preferences for different places depending on size, climate, activities, jobs and so on.
If we allow supply to catch up to demand, people will sort themselves out anyway.